Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency | MDHA FAIR HOUSING
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Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability.

What Housing Is Covered?

      The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

What Is Prohibited?

In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:

      • Refuse to rent or sell housing
      • Refuse to negotiate for housing
      • Make housing unavailable
      • Deny a dwelling
      • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
      • Provide different housing services or facilities
      • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
      • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
      • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

In Mortgage Lending: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):

      • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
      • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
      • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
      • Discriminate in appraising property
      • Refuse to purchase a loan or
      • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

In Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:

      • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
      • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Additional Protection If You Have a Disability

If you or someone associated with you:

      • Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
      • Have a record of such a disability or
      • Are regarded as having such a disability

Your landlord may not:

      • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
      • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. Examples:
        • A building with a “no pets” policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.
        • An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near her apartment if necessary to assure that she can have access to her apartment.

However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.

For Further Information:

The Fair Housing Act and HUD’s regulations contain more detail and technical information. If you need a copy of the law or regulations, contact the HUD Office nearest you.

Education and Outreach

An Informed Community is an Empowered Community A rapidly growing challenge in the City of Nashville is that of language barrier. Nashville’s burgeoning immigrant population has an urgent need for professional, expeditious dissemination of information in several languages. Without translation and easy access combined, these populations will be unable to take advantage of laws designed to work for their advantage; in fact they will most likely be taken advantage of by unscrupulous practices.

Race Relations/Cultural Sensitivity

The influx of Nashville’s immigrant/ Refugee populations has been estimated to be 1,500 persons per year. These populations are represented by Hispanics, Asians, (Chinese, Cambodians, and Laotians), Arabs, Somalians and the Kurdish. Not only do these populations routinely experience housing discrimination, but routinely experience race discrimination. With the changing face of Nashville comes the need for a better understanding of cultures that are different than yours. In the wake on 9/11, we learned how difficult it is to accept another culture other than your own. But with understanding comes a better chance of accepting people that appear to be different than you. Keep in mind that refugees and immigrants are fearful when entering this country. They may seem to act distant around you simply because they too are encountering a culture that is different than theirs. The best way to overcome the unknown is simply with a smile, a nonverbal communications that speaks mounds. It is a wonderful feeling to have friends of all creeds and nationalities. Think of all the different foods you will eat and all the different languages you will begin to learn, and all of the American ways of life you can make your new friends familiar with. Think of the ways you would want to be treated and treat others the same. Sure, some cultures prohibit the shaking of hands, or addressing a man’s wife, things that we just aren’t accustomed to. What do you do in such a situation? A simple apology to express that you are unfamiliar with the culture will usually suffice.